Moscow’s plan to re­draw bor­ders

The Week (US) - - 14 News - Wil­liam Hague

The Daily Tele­graph The Krem­lin is try­ing to get Europe to tear it­self apart, said Wil­liam Hague. Ukraine is, of course, its big­gest suc­cess so far: Rus­sia an­nexed Crimea in 2014 and has been desta­bi­liz­ing eastern Ukraine ever since. But it’s been equally busy in smaller coun­tries, work­ing to un­der­mine their democ­ra­cies and pre­vent the ex­pan­sion of the West­ern al­liance. Rus­sia was im­pli­cated in a 2016 at­tempted coup in Mon­tene­gro, in­tended to stop that na­tion from join­ing NATO; it used “fake news” to de­press turnout for a re­cent referendum in Mace­do­nia that would have opened the way to mem­ber­ship in NATO and the EU. Now Rus­sia is busy pro­mot­ing the in­sid­i­ous no­tion of a bor­der change in Kosovo, to al­low the Ser­bian mi­nor­ity there to join Ser­bia proper. Does that sound triv­ial? It is not. “For once one bor­der can be ‘cor­rected,’ there will be a new jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for chang­ing many more.” There are large num­bers of eth­nic Hun­gar­i­ans in Romania and Ukraine who could ag­i­tate to join their mother coun­try. Rus­sia has long had its eye on two Rus­sian-speak­ing re­gions of Ge­or­gia, as well as the Baltic states, with their large Rus­sian mi­nori­ties. Euro­pean lead­ers must make it clear that “the blood­stained map of eastern Europe is fin­ished.” If we wa­ver, we’ll face a “greater show­down in the fu­ture, on a bor­der or in a coun­try we can­not yet pre­dict.”

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